A New York state network of small group homes for the developmentally disabled operates with scant oversight and few consequences for employees who abuse the vulnerable population, reports the New York Times. The newspaper found widespread problems in the more than 2,000 state-run homes. In hundreds of cases, employees who sexually abused, beat, or taunted residents rarely were fired, even after repeated offenses. Then often were transferred to other state-run group homes.
Despite a law requiring that incidents in which a crime may have been committed be reported to law enforcement, referrals are rare. Of 13,000 allegations of abuse in 2009 in state-operated and licensed homes, fewer than 5 percent were referred to law enforcement. The cases included shocking examples of abuse of residents with conditions like Down syndrome, autism, and cerebral palsy.